Is there any difference in meaning, formality, tone, or otherwise between the "good morning" greetings 早安 and 早上好? Or just regional preferences? (I'm thinking perhaps the former may be more common in Taiwan and the latter more common in Mainland China and/or northern China but I'm not sure.)
From the accepted answer at Baidu:
Both are words of greeting. Nowadays people generally use “早上好”. “早安” will give a feeling of before 民国 (the Republic of China (1912-1949)), or a literary feeling (it's common in literature).
Other people think 早安 has a warmer feeling.
Of course this is the perspective of mainland people.
In Taiwan 早安 is used much more than 早上好. （Ratio: 28, Google advanced search: exact phrase, country TW, language zh-TW)
- "早安" 5,340,000
- "早上好" 192,000
In the mainland, incidentally, 早安 is also used much more than 早上好, although the degree of usage seems much closer. （Ratio: 2.3, Google advanced search: exact phrase, country CN, language zh-CN)
- "早安" 24,500,000
- "早上好" 10,400,000
Slightly off-topic, an alternative to 早安 in Taiwan is "吃飯了沒有？", literally ＂have you eaten， yet? " . You may hear this more among older folks who experienced lean times in their youth, and also reflects generosity of the speaker.
早安 is more literary, it's used more frequently in written form like novel and poems as well as articles, blogs and tweets. That's why Google gives more results.
Oral, we say 早上好 more.
Generally people in Taiwan and Hongkong write in traditional chinese while people in Mainland China mostly write in simplified chinese.
Chinese in mainland speak mandarin. We speak 早上好 more often.
People in Hong Kong and Guangzhou speak Cantonese, which is much more ancient Chinese, they greet with 早晨. Cantonese sounds totally different than mandarin, almost like a different language.
People in Taiwan speak mostly mandarin, they say 早安, 安 means safe , in peace
For detailed information:http://zh.wikipedia.org/wiki/正體字
早安 is Chinese for the English "good morning" and used in China everywhere.
早上好 is the creation of machine translation of English "good morning" and is probably used by translation machines.
I am a native Chinese speaking person and have travelled all over the world and I have never been greeted by anyone with "早上好".